Bowdoin’s most storied alumni left indelible marks in the fields of social sciences and humanities – Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in American literature; admirals Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan in Arctic exploration; senators George J. Mitchell and William S. Cohen in government and public service. Their presence is still felt on campus, in the strength of the programs that carry on their legacies and in the attraction those programs have for generation after generation of Bowdoin students.
As globalization breaks down the boundaries between societies and economies, Bowdoin continues to blur the lines between disciplines in order to fully prepare students as active and engaged citizens of the 21st Century. The study of foreign language, for example, is infused with culture, history and art; arctic studies pulls together geology, biology, anthropology and history; and the Coastal Studies Center provides unique opportunities for archeologists to excavate ancient shell middens while marine biologists research the intertidal shoreline and artists and photographers capture the beauty of the 118-acre landscape.
The Language Media Center in Sills Hall gives students immediate access to the world, through satellite television links to nine foreign-language broadcast stations, more than 1,000 Asian and Russian films, streaming audio and video from radio and television networks worldwide and online foreign-language newspapers and magazines. The facility is equipped with a 20-seat high-resolution classroom theater, Tandberg audio-active language laboratory and playback stations supporting all international standards of analog and digital playback. Visit the Language Media Center.
The museum collection – which includes artifacts and research materials from Peary and MacMillan’s expeditions to the North Pole, as well as photographs, films and Inuit art – is unique among liberal arts colleges. The Arctic Studies Center offers a venue for research focusing on the prehistory, history, anthropology and environment of the Arctic, as well as the native peoples who still inhabit the region. Visit the Peary-Macmillan Arctic Museum.
Kanbar Hall is equipped with two large observational suites, each of which contains an observation room separated by a two-way mirror from a control room, where researchers observe children in different situations. The spaces can be left open for gross motor activities or divided into two smaller rooms with the use of an accordion wall, which allows parents of young children to be nearby but out of sight. Audio suites are used to study the perceptions of spoken language.